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Community says big thank you to farmer who gave 67 years to his parish council

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 29, 2013

  • Ken Trewin with prize-winning entries at the horticultural show

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Living Cornwall Editor

Ken Trewin is hoeing his vegetable patch when I arrive – picking out weeds by hand and looking to see if the beetroots have germinated.

There is a neat row of potatoes, along with some peas and parsnips.

"I may be ninety-two, but I'm still kicking," he declares with a smile.

Marvelling at the panoramic vista from his bungalow at Higher Manaton Farm over Bodmin Moor's uplands, I comment on his good fortune.

"Haven't got time to look at the view," says Ken, like a typical Cornish farmer. "Too much work to do."

And it's true. Work and public duty have been the driving forces of this dedicated nonagenarian's life.

This month, however, he has decided to take things a bit slower, giving up his seat on South Hill Parish Council after an incredible 67 years. Surely few, if any, voluntary public servants in Britain can boast a longer career.

The parish council's current chairman, Dennis Hicks, paid tribute to his predecessor, saying Ken had put his life and soul into South Hill since 1946 for the benefit of the parish and all who live in it. Highlighting his role in the construction of the original village hall in 1954 and its more recent extension, Dennis said Ken had also served on the village hall committee, the flower show committee and been a member of Hawkin Charity Trust.

"No one else has given as much time and effort for the parish," he said. "This has left us with the legacy of a rich communal parish which we are proud to have today. There are many people in the parish who Ken has quietly helped to sort out their problems by using his many contacts and influence. We will always be indebted to him."

Born on a farm at North Hill, Ken moved with his family to Higher Manaton at South Hill, near Callington, in the 1920s. He studied at Hoe Grammar School in Plymouth, before joining the family business. Ken was married to Nance – who he courted by cycling to and from Lanreath, a round trip of 40 miles – and the couple had two sons, Brian and David, who continue to work the family's two farms.

Despite the demands of a 120-acre plot, Ken made time for all manner of public duties. As well as serving on and chairing South Hill Parish Council, he was a member of Cornwall County Council, Liskeard Rural District Council, the board of South West Water and Royal Cornwall Show committee, as well as being one of the five founding citizens of Duchy College.

He was first elected to Cornwall County Council in 1969 and remained a member until 1981, serving under chairman William Rowse. During that time he took a variety of roles, including being the chairman of the smallholdings committee.

Members of South Hill Parish Council held a ceremony at Golberdon Village Hall to thank Ken for his dedication to the community. The event, which was attended by Cornwall Council chairman John Wood, interim chief executive Paul Masters, and members of Ken's family and friends, included the unveiling of a plaque on the wall of the community building he helped to build 60 years ago.

Congratulating the 92-year-old on his achievement, John Wood said he was humbled by the realisation that Ken had become a councillor "the year before I was born".

"Your record of service to your local community is truly remarkable," he said. "Both the chief executive and I am honoured to have been invited to attend this special ceremony and to pay tribute to your exceptional service to South Hill Parish Council."

Dennis Hicks read out a letter from South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray, who wrote: "I would like to thank you on behalf of the whole community for all that you have done and the contribution you have made over the years. I am sure you will be sorely missed and I wish you a happy and healthy retirement."

Standing for a moment to take in the ridge of Caradon Hill, Stowes Pound, Sharptor and Bearah Tor, Ken does concede that he is indeed a lucky man. However, the moment is fleeting... he has work to do.

Also marking long service at South Hill this month was Jill Reynolds, who celebrated her 37th year as a councillor. Jill, who moved to Golberdon when she was four months old, joined in 1976 and has been a key member of the village hall and flower show committees ever since.

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